The Long Beach Municipal Pool opened for business sometime in the late 1920's. It was the first pool built by the new city. It occupied the SW corner of Lafayette Blvd between Broadway and the boardwalk. The distinctive white stucco building with blue trim and a red Spanish tile roof would provide an alternative to ocean bathing and was recognized by all. It also was the place where a half century of Long Beach kids first learned how to swim. Swim teams were developed here, lifeguards trained here, celebrities showcased here and bands played here. 50 cents would get you in as an adult, a quarter for a kid (it may have been 10 cents at one time)
The advertisement seen above, from the late 1930s, speaks of handball courts, special kids pool, outdoor theatre with movies every night and band concerts 3 times daily. Famous swimmers and divers performed at the pool, especially in the 1930s. It was then that Olympic medalists Eleanor Holm and Johnny Weismuller (of the 1930s Tarzan movies) could be seen performing bits from Billy Rose's famous "Aquacades" act, showcased at the 1939 World's Fair. Eleanor Holm, born in Brooklyn, was the daughter of a New York Fire Department Chief, and learned to swim at the pool, which was near her family's summer cottage in Long Beach.
The pool was originally built with a deep diving end, reported to be about 12 feet deep by people who remember it. Some time later it was filled in to a maximun depth of about 5-6 ft for safety. That is how I remember it in the early 1960's.
The last mention of the outdoor Municipal Pool is in the 1968-69 Long Beach Guide, where it was still advertised as 50 cents for adults and 25 cents for kids. The 1970 guide no longer lists it, and that would be about the time it closed for good, and all activities moved to the year round indoor pool on Magnolia and the bay. The structure remained for some years later, mostly used for beach maintenance offices and storage of life guard chairs and ocean barrels in the winter.
As always, these images would not be possible without the contributions of many people including, but not limited to, the late Dr Kenneth Tydings through his son Dr Albert Tydings, Lowell Taubman, Ellen Spooner, the Long Beach Historical Society, the Long Beach Public Library, the Library of Congress and our own private collection. If we failed to mention you please email us so we may properly credit you.
Enjoy these memories of Long Beach, America's Healthiest City!